Most of us are home more during this pandemic and if you’re fortunate, working from home. While working from home has its advantages such as no commute and easy access to the fridge, you can also find yourself sitting down for most of the day in front of your computer even more as meetings take place online. If you’ve been sitting all day, these yoga poses will help stretch your body and take a rest which is important in order for you to increase your productivity.
Pose 1: Sitting Mindfully
The purpose of this exercise is to check how you and your body feel. Sit with both feet on the ground, knees hip width apart, hands on your knees. Elongate your spine, bring your chest slightly forward, relax your stomach and release any tension in your shoulders. Take five slow deep breaths here.
Ask yourself, “How do I feel? How does my body feel?” Your answer doesn’t have to be good or bad—just let yourself be aware of that feeling and let it be.
Pose 2: Wrist Circle Stretch
Your wrists do so much for you, so take a moment to give them some TLC. While staying in Pose 1, bring your wrists together, clasp each finger over the other hand and do small slow circles clockwise five times and then counterclockwise five times.
Pose 3: Seated Cat / Cow
Let the spine feel some movement. Staying in Pose 1, bring each arm on top of your knees, make sure your feet are firmly touching the ground. As you inhale, put a little pressure into your hands on your knees and press your chest forward. If it feels comfortable press your head a little backwards.
As you exhale, press on your hands a little, bring your upper back backwards away from your hands and bring your head down looking at your belly. Repeat five times with slow deep breaths.
Pose 4: Seated Twist
Add a little twist to move your spine. Sit in Pose 1 and bring your right hand to your left knee, your left hand behind you, look behind you slightly, press the chest out and make sure to twist your left shoulder back. Stay here for a breath and switch to the right side.
Pose 5: Chest Opener Pose
Staying in Pose 1 with your spine in a neutral position, clasp your hands behind your lower back, exhale and lower your clasped hands lower. Open up your chest and stay in this pose for five deep breaths. If your neck is uncomfortable, bring your neck to where it feels right for you.
Pose 6: Forward Fold
This pose relieves fatigue, calms the brain and helps relieve stress. Stand up, place each foot firmly on the ground, hip width apart. Bend your knees, fold your upper body forward down and place each hand on each elbow. Let your head relax and stay here for five slow, deep breaths. When done, come back up slowly and sit on your desk chair again.
Pose 7: Seated Pigeon
This pose will increase your hip flexibility, lengthen the hips, stretch the thighs and gluteal muscles and reduce lower back stiffness. Staying in Pose 1, bring your right foot above your left knee and lengthen your spine. If this already feels very intense, stay where you are. If you’d like to go deeper, slowly push your elongated torso forward so that your chest is pushed towards your knee. Stay in this position for five slow deep breaths then do the same on the left leg.
Nanaco Kawai is a yoga instructor based in Myoko Kogen, Niigata Prefecture, a popular ski resort area. She runs Nano Yoga and teaches skiers and snowboarders yoga in the winter season to help them add yoga to their exercise routine and feel a little less sore and reduce injuries. During the rest of the year, she continues to teach yoga in a way that’s accessible and fun to beginners and enjoys sharing the positive aspects yoga can have on your life beyond the mat.